The labor group Partido Manggagawa slammed the suspension of the proceedings for certification election at three Sports City factories at the Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ). The Sports City group of companies employs some 14,000 workers and is the biggest employer at the MEZ.
“Sports City is using legal maneuvers to subvert the workers’ exercise of freedom of association and yesterday it succeeded in delaying the holding of an election at three of its factories on the basis of an appeal to the office of the Labor Secretary. We call on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to implement the law and the rules which absolutely guarantee the holding of a certification election despite an appeal by the employer,” stated Dennis Derige, PM-Cebu spokesperson.
In a pre-election conference yesterday, the DOLE officer handling the petitions for certification election announced that the proceedings are held in abeyance pending the appeal to the Office of the Labor Secretary. Petitions for certification election by rank-and-file unions in Metrowear, Globalwear and Mactan Apparel, and a supervisory union in Globalwear were earlier granted and objections by management dismissed.
Derige added that “The certification election at Sports City is a test case for the respect for freedom of association in the ecozones. In MEZ not a single union exists with a collective bargaining agreement due to the pernicious union busting efforts of capitalists. This has led to wage stagnation for workers despite decades of economic growth and productivity rise.”
Aside from the four petitions in Sports City, another petition for certification election is pending at First Glory Philippines. All the unions formed at Sports City and First Glory are affiliated to PIGLAS-SENTRO. A labor dispute has erupted at First Glory after the mass layoff of 300 workers, including all of the union officers, last November 27. Last December 22, members of the First Glory labor union voted overwhelmingly to go on strike.
“First Glory management has taken a hardline position in all mediation meetings despite being unable to substantiate its claim of losses. We demand that First Glory reinstate all 300 workers that were retrenched as this was done in bad faith and for the purpose of busting the newly-formed union,” declared Cristito Pangan, president of First Glory labor union.
The latest mediation hearing yesterday, attended by no less than Lapu Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan, on the First Glory dispute again ended without any agreement. Workers in the Mactan Ecozone have been hit by a series of job losses: Sports City retrenched 4,000 workers, Yuenthai fired 2000 workers, FCO International laid off 100 workers and Kor Landa dismissed 67 workers including union officers.
PM however believes that “The mass layoffs and labor disputes at First Glory, Sports City and Arcya Glass in Calamba, Laguna are all symptomatic of the epidemic of labor rights violations during the time of covid. Employers are exploiting the covid-19 crisis to bust unions and shift to contract work.”
January 5, 2021